Gershon, Olympiacos sign deal

After building a reputation as one of the top basketball minds in Europe, Gershon will take his show on the road.

pini gershon 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
pini gershon 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
"I can't wait to come," Pini Gershon said Wednesday night after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal to coach Greek power Olympiacos Piraeus. After building a reputation as one of the top basketball minds in Europe as he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to three continental championships and another two appearances in the finals, Gershon will take his show on the road for the first time. Gershon, who will reportedly earn 1 million euro for the deal, which includes a mutual option for a second year, will be introduced to the Greek press on Thursday. In remarks made to Olympiacos's Web site, he said: "I'm satisfied... I can't wait to come here. Olympiacos is big club and a big challenge for me. "From the meeting with the president, I understand that he has big targets. His philosophy is the same as mine. Olympiacos needs to win every game, and that's what I want, too. "I can promise that my players and I will do everything to win titles. The targets for the next season are the Greek championship, the cup and the Final Four of Athens. In six years with Maccabi, I won everything, and that's what I want to do with Olympiacos." Gershon spent much of the past season dropping hints that this year would be his last in coaching. However, as the end grew near, he switched his tone to saying it would be his last at Maccabi. Ultimately, the big money in Greece and the challenge of proving himself outside of Maccabi proved to be too much temptation for Gershon, 54. He takes over for Jonas Kazlauskas, who left to focus on his other job, preparing the Chinese Olympic team for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Much of the team's roster is set, with Olympiacos extending the contract of "Baby Shaq" Sofoklis Schortsianitis and signing centers Ryan Stack and Giannis Bouroussis in the last week alone. Gershon's signing now leaves the question of who will take over at Maccabi. The top choices seem to be former Hapoel Jerusalem and Ural Great (Russia) coach Sharon Drucker or Israel national team coach Tzvika Sherf, who has coached Maccabi in the past.